Monday, May 3, 2010


By Brad Shear

Fellow TU blogger Pat Battuello recently wrote a post titled ‘collecting animals’. The post was about a serious issue referred to in our industry as hoarding. I won’t re-write Pat’s blog, but I do recommend reading it because there is some good information and insight into why people would continue to increase the number of animals in their home far beyond their ability to care for them. Tufts Veterinary school hosts an excellent website about animal hoarding that is very informative about this issue for people, animals and the community.

In April, our Humane Law Enforcement Officer and the Town of Colonie Police ran into just such a case. Colonie Police had received a complaint about a multitude of cats in a house that seemed to be in poor condition. The police looked into the case and asked our officer for assistance. We knew that there were a lot of cats in the house, but didn’t have a good idea of how many. The owner of the cats, Margaret Tomko, started trying to find places for her cats to go and found one woman who agreed to take 13 of them, but couldn’t find anywhere for the bulk of them to go.

After trying to work with Ms Tomko, the Colonie Police obtained a warrant to search the home and remove the cats. Before serving the warrant, our investigator, Tina Murray, spoke to Ms Tomko who decided to voluntarily surrender the cats to the Humane Society. Humane Society staff spent the rest of the day catching and identifying each cat found. That’s what you may have seen in the news, but what happens once those cats come back to the animal shelter?..." More